Oyster Roast Style

January is in full swing which means that it’s the start of oyster season.  The world’s biggest oyster festival, The Lowcountry Oyster Festival, is just around the corner which means there’ll be a lot of shucking and schmoozing.  Coming up on it’s 35th year and taking place at Boone Hall Plantation, it’s pretty much the kick off to the social season in Charleston.

Dressing for an oyster roast is a fine balance of being casually put together.  It’s usually cold out, sometimes muddy, and you always want to have your hands free.  I swung by M. Dumas & Sons to take a spin in their “shuck friendly” styles.  I was immediately drawn to their massive Barbour selection of utilitarian jackets and vests.  The water resistant material and deep pockets are essential when your spilling oyster juice everywhere and you need a place to store your phone, keys, and other necessities.

Me and my husband Gustavo fell in love with the form meets function aesthetic of the Barbour brand and their long heritage of quality that they stand behind.  The family legacy that keeps the brand going aligns perfectly with the M. Dumas & Sons story.  The King Street institution has been dressing men in the lowcountry for over a century.  They first opened their doors in 1917 by Mendel Dumas and the local store is still going strong after 100 years.   Their ever evolving mix of merchandise ranges from the classic styles, to contemporary brands, to tailored suiting.  If your looking to stock up on winter clothes and other styles that will carry you well into the spring months then take advantage of their 40-50% off sale right now.

I was happy to discover M. Dumas & Sons has an extensive selection of Barbour jackets and vests for women like this quilted one which is on sale too!  Keep up with them on their Instagram for all of exciting events they’ll be a part of at Sewe in February and a runway show at Charleston Fashion Week in March.

An oyster keychain by Oysters All Around adds a personal touch to this bag by Filson at M. Dumas & Sons.  Oysters All Around is a local brand that makes accessories made with oyster shells as well as designing products with the oyster motif.  I’m so glad I discovered them at Cannonborough Collective by my girl Charleston Weekender.  I’m excited to share more about these local businesses alongside The Lowcountry Oyster Festival on Lowcountry Live tomorrow at 10am.  We’ll be giving away 2 tickets to The Lowcountry Oyster Festival and a market tote, note pad, oyster shucker and navy oyster shell tassel keychain from Oysters All Around so don’t miss out!

Hopefully I’ll see some of you at The Lowcountry Oyster Festival.  Tickets are only $17.50 in advance and kids 10 and under are free.  There’ll be plenty of activities for the kiddos, oyster buckets are $12-$14, and various food and drink vendors will be set up to compliment those oysters. This event gets busy fast, so plan on coming on the earlier side (it’s from 10am-5pm) to get that good parking spot and decent elbow room to shuck.

Calvary polar quilt jacket by Barbour $279 (40% off), Filson bag $250 from M. Dumas & Sons

On Gustavo: Faherty plaid shirt $148 and Duke wax jacket by Barbour $399 (40% off) from  M. Dumas & Sons

Photography by Nicole Mickle

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Aisle Style at Charleston Wedding Week

We’re kicking off 2018 with bang because one of Charleston’s premiere event is only a couple of weeks away.  Charleston Wedding Week takes place on January 24-27 and hosts workshops, signature experiences, runway shows, and parties produced by Charleston Weddings magazine and The Wedding Row.  Even if your not in the wedding industry, the runways shows and fashion events are the perfect excuse to get dressed up and visit venues that you wouldn’t normally have access to.   The shows will be filled with gorgeous gowns from local boutiques and designers from Charleston and beyond. 

I had the pleasure of playing with some of the dresses from featured stores that will walk the runway.  The first show will be at Cannon Green on January 24th, and will feature Bella Bridesmaids, Betty Bridal, Lovely Charleston, Maddison Row, Southern Protocol, and Verità.  The posh Cannon Green is the perfect setting to host a cocktail party/runway show.  The other big show will be on January 26th at Lowndes Grove Plantation and will feature Emily Kotarski, Made with Love presented by Lovely Bride Charleston, Mason Hosker, and Modern Trousseau.  After the shows, get an insiders access by meeting the designers to learn how they work and what inspires them  Tickets to all of the events are available at charlestonweddingweek.com. 

 Verità will be opening up the Cannon Green show and expect to see dramatic dresses with texture, 3-D embellishments, and unexpected add-ons like capes, detachable trains and skirts.  Verita meaning truth in Italian, was recently opened by Jessica Kiss in Mt. Pleasant.  The seasoned bridal stylist offers dresses for every style – from the classic traditional southern woman, to the edgy fashion-forward destination bride. They carry designers such as Rebecca Ingram, Madison James, Tara Keely, Calla Blanche, and Nicole Suppose with an accessible price range of $800-$3500.  They’re a one stop shop stocking mother of the bride dresses, bridesmaids, and accessories such as veils, jewelry, and head pieces.  If you want to get a sneak peek of the runway show or if you can’t make it to the event, visit Jessica for her Designer Event from the 19th-27th at Verità320 West Coleman BLVD. Unit J MT. Pleasant, SC 29464.

Dress by Madison James and hair pins from Verità // Earrings and ring from Croghan’s Jewel Box

 Southern Protocol is another locally owned boutique that will be waltzing down the runway at the  Cannon Green fashion show.  Located at 164 Market Street downtown, Southern Protocol exudes chic and charm with it’s airy decor and glittery floor.  Owners Ann E. Rice Ervin & Lisa S. Rice, alongside buyer and manager Michelle Miller stock the posh boutique with designs from Charleston to Barcelona.  They carry an exquisite selection of dresses from local designer Kate McDonald, and other sought after brands like Ivy & Aster, Romona Keveza, Carol Hannah, and Jesus Peiro.  Set up more like a showroom than a shop, the gowns are curated carefully with each rack dedicated to each designer.  This dreamy dress by Ivy & Aster is just one of the designs you might catch at their runway show.

Dress by Ivy & Aster, Taxidermy clutch, and Carol Hannah hair piece from Southern Protocol // Earrings and rings from Gold Creations

Gone are the days of the dreaded, never to be worn again bridesmaid dress.  Bella Bridesmaids offers fashion forward, ready to wear options for your bridal party and beyond.  The national franchise makes it easy to coordinate with your girls because they can visit any of their 51 locations to try on a dress before they order it.   The Charleston location at 43 John Street in the Upper King Street district is locally owned by Allison Long who is celebrating her 12th year in business.  She stocks her shop with exclusive designs by Theia, Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Woo, Amsale, Adrianna Papell, and Joanna August.   Don’t let the name throw you off because their dresses and separates are also perfect for prom, mother of the bride/groom, black tie events, wedding guests, and rehearsal dinners.   They will also be showing at the Cannon Green runway show on January 24th.

Dress by Joanna August from  Bella Bridesmaids // Earrings and rings from Croghan’s Jewel Box

Australian designer Callie Tein, is the visionary behind Modern Trousseau, a custom bridal line with 8 stores nationwide including her downtown location at 418 King Street. Couture quality gowns are custom made with every option including color, trimming, skirt shapes, strap selections, and you can even mix and match styles.  All of the gowns are made in the USA using the finest quality European lace sourced from the French regions of Chantilly, Alencon, Guipure, to Burano Italy and Teneriffe Spain.  Callie also sends her brides a sketch of their gown and will sew their monogram and wedding date within the inside of the gown in blue for “something blue”.  Modern Trousseau will be showing at Lowndes Grove Plantation on Friday January 26th from 6-9pm as the the finale showcase designer.  After the runway show take advantage of the “Meet and Greet” the designer cocktail hour to learn about Callie and her designs. 

Tune into Lowcountry Live tomorrow 1/12/18 at 10am for more looks from these boutiques who will be showing at Charleston Wedding Week.  I’ll be giving away a $50 gift certificate from Southern Protocol,  a veil or accessory of your choice from Verità, and a little black dress of your choice from Modern Trousseau.  You don’t want to miss out on this one!

“Roux” dress and hair piece from  Modern Trousseau // earrings from Croghan’s Jewel Box // Rings from  Gold Creations

Photography by Nicole Mickle, Stylist – Andrea Serrano, Model – Marissa Rocco at Millie Lewis, Makeup – Elina Mille at Bellelina Studio, Hairstylist – Rosa Martinez, Shot on location at Cannon Green

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Frolicking Frocks

As 2017 draws to a close I’m wrapping it up with a couple of my favorite party looks.  This dress by Alexis at Beckett is a dream and the perfect to transition from winter into spring. This Upper King boutique has the most covetable collection of clothing and brands that are exclusive to Charleston.  They carry on trend Aussie brands like Rebecca Vallance and Lover the Label and when you wear one of their pieces it makes you feel you instantly cool.

The Fantasy Garden collection from Candy Shop Vintage is full of whimsical jewelry adorned with unicorns, bumble bees, and flowers.  Designer Deirdre Zahl teamed up with 125 year old jewelry company Ciner to produce her latest collection.  Her adorable Cannon Street shop is packed with vintage jewelry as well as other local designers and fun accessories from brands from all over.

Jeslyn Dress by Alexa from Beckett $560 // The Unicorn Collar Fantasy Necklace $395, Rhinestone Bee earrings (Crystal) $135 from Candy Shop Vintage

This dress from Mulberry & King is a knock out, especially when it’s under $100!  Unfortunately it’s sold out but they have plenty of other great party dresses that are perfect for a New Year’s Eve bash.  You’ve got to follow them on Instagram to keep up to date on the latest releases because they’re known for selling out quick on certain styles.  The online boutique based here in Charleston is run by 2 girl bosses and best friends – Megan and Meredith.  I have so much respect for theses women who can juggle young little ones while being successful mompreneurs.  I featured Mulberry & King a couple of weeks ago on Lowcountry Live along with Beckett and Candy Shop Vintage for my holiday outfits segment, you can watch the video here if you need some last minute ideas.

If your looking to drop any hints for last minute gift ideas that are sure to dazzle then Croghan’s Jewel Box is the place.  Specializing in fine jewelry, they also have a gorgeous collection of estate jewelry and playful costume jewelry at every price range.  I love following them on Instagram to see the latest baubles and engagements with their rings.  This family run business is over 100 year old and the 4th generation is just as excited to carry on the legacy.  They also carry gifty items for special occasions and something for the man in your life.  Goblets, silver trays, vases, flasks, engravable photo albums, and feathered bow ties are just some of the treasures you’ll find on their shelves.

  I’m so grateful for all of the opportunities and collaborations with all of the local talent here in Charleston.  It’s pretty incredible how many people I get to connect with on a daily basis through my blog, social media, and Lowcountry Live, these are the experiences that make my life fulfilling.   I’m so proud to see my city grow and all of the entrepreneurs and emerging talent that are thriving here.   I look forward to keep on exploring and enjoying new experiences with my family and loved ones in 2018.  Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas holiday and prosperous New Year!

I’m signing off for the rest of the year on my blog but you can keep up with me on my Instagram and see you in 2018!

Blue lace peplum dress and Black fringe heel with pearl trim $36 from Mulberry & King // Sterling Silver Wallace Water Goblet $450, 14k lapis and diamond earrings $2,980, 14k 12mm freshwater pearl fluid ring $1,915, 14k yellow gold mabe pearl diamond ring $2,950, 18k sapphire diamond pave mummy ring $7,500, 14k turquoise and diamond ring $1,950, 14k Tahitian pearl fluid cuff bracelet $1,915, 14k freshwater fluid pearl cuff bracelet $2,020 all from Croghan’s Jewel Box

Photography by Kim Graham, Manicure by Mylk Bar, on location at 12 State Street listed with Handsome Properties

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Makeup and Mexican at Freshfields Village

There’s always new places to explore and shop at Freshfields Village.  For you last minute shoppers there’s something for everyone on your list.  Christmas shopping can be exhausting, but doing it at Freshfields Village is a breeze, with all the parking and stores in close proximity.  They even did the work for you with their curated gift guide – click here for some great gift ideas.

Who doesn’t love a little pampering in their life?  Blue Mercury is the one stop shop for the beauty buff in your life or someone who just needs a little refresh in the makeup department.  Carrying favorites like Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Darphin, Kiehl’s, Chantecaille, Living Proof, RMS Beauty, Goop! and Smith & Cult, they have you covered.  They also have an in-house spa, which offers treatments like Oxygen Facials, glycolic peels, and waxing services, plus they do makeup applications.   This Bobbi Brown everything eyes book is perfect for that budding makeup artist friend or someone who wants to explore their skills.

Bobbi Brown everything eyes book $14.95,  LAFCO fresh cut gardenia – living room classic candle $42,  BOBBI BROWN lip color $29 from Blue Mercury

Super Goop! is a pretty amazing skincare line that has SPF in all of their products.  From lip balm, lotion, refreshing spray, body oil, your skin in protected with their 30-50 spf.  These are a couple of my favorites.

SUPERGOOP! spf 50 everyday $32,  SUPERGOOP! sun defying sunscreen oil spf 50 $34 from Blue Mercury

Mexican has got to be one of my favorite foods out there and I was excited to find out that Cantina 76 was opening at Freshfields Village.  With locations in Columbia and Greenville, I’m glad they picked Kiawah for their 3rd outpost.  My recommendations?  The Dirty Queso to share, Roasted Chicken Taco, and you can’t go wrong with any of their Enchiladas.

Another great thing is that the portions are generous and are perfect to share.  My kids are the pickiest eaters and they even found a few things that they liked and munched on the endless chips and salsa.

Pella Faux Fur Coat in Leopard $348 ,Virgo Sweater $198 ,Watson Jeans $178.00 from J. McLaughlin // Sunglasses from Village Optical in Freshfields Village // Jewelry by Julie Vos from GDC  Home // “Brody” platform oxford by Summit White Mountain Shoes $148.95 from Nordstrom

Photography by Libby Williams 

Here’s my 6 hours in Freshfields video which highlights some of my favorite haunts including Tres Carmen, Blue Mercury, Beija Flor, and Dolittle’s.  Hopefully it will give you some gift ideas and places you’ll want to splurge on yourself.

Video by Brennan Wesley

Star Light, Star Bright

I can’t believe that Christmas is 1 week away!  I rounded up some wearable gift ideas for your last minute shopping from House of Sage and Ash Hoffman.   House of Sage is running a 12 days of Christmas sale from now until December 24th.  If you like jeans then this is your lucky day because it’s 20% off all denim.  Check out their Facebook page for daily deals including 20% off the entire store on December 23rd.  Their prices are already pretty amazing so stock up for yourself and gifts for that fashion girl in your life.

 Ash Hoffman is based in Myrtle Beach and has many fans here in Charleston including me.  She makes the coolest custom jewelry, but you still have time to shop online for her handcrafted boho chic jewels. I love stacking her jewelry to make a statement.  Follow Ash on Instagram to see the latest designs and her cute 12 days of Christmas ideas for last minute stocking stuffers.

My glitter ombre mani is by Mylk Bar, Charleston’s eco-nail bar located in Mt. Pleasant.  The color is Brentwood Wives and I had to get a gel so I could stay festive through the New Year.

Crushed Velvet Belle Sleeve Top by Olivaceous $66,  Jeans by Mink Pink,  Luxe Fur Jacket by Mink Pink $160,  Charisma Suede Booties by Chinese Laundry $94 all from House of Sage // Kristine earrings with diamonds $4,190, To the Moon and Back in yellow gold $225, Maria stacked rings with diamond $175, Meghan yellow gold stacked rings $175 each, Caroline thick hammered band ring $275,  Silver band with black diamonds $425 all handmade by Ash Hoffman // Luxury Wig Flatscreen sunglasses by Raen $150 from Zappos 

Photography by Kim Graham, on location at 12 State Street listed with Handsome Properties

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Elements of the Season

The candle movement is taking Charleston by storm, and many local brands have launched in the past couple of years.  These chandlers are carving out a niche making soy candles in small batches with signature scents. Element Candles stands out for their luxe modern meets minimal approach to packaging and their distinct scents conjure the essence of a high end perfume.  For me burning a candle isn’t just about making my room smell great, it’s my aromatherapy to get inspired when I’m working in my home office. My favorite candle scents like Wood and Musk invoke the comfort in the winter months because they incorporate notes like fir, mistletoe, pine, balsam, amber, clove, and jasmine.

The benefits of buying locally made candles made in small batches is that they are better for the environment and of course your supporting the local economy. Many big brand candles  emit soot and toxins into the air partly because of their synthetic wicks, but Element Candle’s wicks are made of cherrywood and have a clean burn.

I met the owners Hannah and Joe Hosemann by fate many years ago in a puppy training class, all of us in a very different place in our lives.  Fast forward to 12 years later and I find out that this husband and wife team are the creators of one of my favorite candle lines,  Element.  I asked them a few questions about their business and why they love making candles.

How did you get into the candle business?   With dogs and wood floors we quickly determined that an artificial Christmas tree made more sense.  To get into the holiday spirit, we purchased a few mass market paraffin based candles – only to find that they smelled artificial and caused headaches.  After extensive research on candles and what’s inside of them, we decided to create a more natural and cleaner burning candle solution.  We started out as an unexpected hobby during the holiday season; we gifted the first few batches of candles to friends and family members.  We fell in love with candle making and our friends kept asking for more.  

What inspired the brand name Element?  We knew that we originally wanted to have categorizations of each fragrance. It was an idea that because the periodic table has categorizations for each element the name came up.

Do you make everything in Charleston? Yes, all of our products are made on James Island.

What do you love about being a business owner?  Having the freedom to create and sell products that are loved and appreciated.  As a husband and wife team, it’s incredibly rewarding to get to work together. 

What do you love the most about the holidays?  Decorating the Christmas tree, the Charlie Brown soundtrack, and time with family.

 If your a candle collector like I am and you don’t own an Element Candle yet, you need to add it to the mix.  If your stumped on what you should gift someone this year or what you should bring your host for a party then surprise them with an Element Candle, they will love you for it. Take advantage of their free shipping until December 21st!


Photography by Clifford Pate

Dandy Wonderland

What does Christmas mean to you?  For me it’s keeping tradition and starting new ones.  Spending time with my family and keeping up with my social events is always a juggling act.  I’ve been hitting the Christmas circuit hard this year from The Nutcracker, to attending and participating in Christmas parades around town.  There’s always something to do in Charleston and I’m thankful for that.  One of the events I always look forward to is Dandy Boutique’s annual Christmas Party.  Tomorrow from 4-8pm they’ll be having store wide sales, and a GIVEAWAY worth $350!  With their newly expanded Made in Charleston section and retro inspired clothes and accessories, you’ll be sure to find something for someone.

These beautifully cupcakes are from Cupcake Down South, and they are the most decadent and delicious desserts I’ve experienced.  They’ve been promoting their 12 days of Cupcakes and everyday it’s another seasonal sensation like Eggnogg, Candy Cane, and Gingerbread to name a few.  Forget about your diet until the new year and splurge on one of these delectable works of art.

Dandy Boutique always has the cutest clothes for the best prices.  I just scooped up this furry coat for $68!  You can hardly go out to dinner for two for that price.

I’m so grateful I get to collaborate with talented locals like owner of Dandy Boutique, Holly McGetrick.  Not only does she have great taste, she’s the sweetest person with the biggest heart.  She had the vision of opening up a store full of vintage inspired clothing and accessories and there still is no other store in Charleston like it.  I’m looking forward to see what Dandy Boutique has in store for 2018!

As 2017 draws to a close, I’m reflecting on all the amazingly talented people I’ve been able to work with and I’m lucky that I’m still discovering new creatives to collaborate with.  Holly brought this shoot together and it was a great team who knew how to nail that 40’s look.  Big thanks to Nicole Mickle Photography, Makeup by Mariah at Pampered & Pretty, Hair by Rosa Martinez, and this sweet ride from Sea island event company.  I’m looking forward to more fun shoots ahead!

Pink Velvet Dress by Everly- $60, Fluffy Coat $68, Black Purse $62, Brown Metallic Skirt- by Everly $67, Blue Sweater by Hell Bunny $65, Navy Bow Purse by Hell Bunny $65, Silver/Navy Shoes by Chelsea Crew $84, Bronze Beaded Necklace by I Crave Jewels- $58, Vintage Button Rings $8-$16 made by Christie McGetrick all from Dandy Boutique

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About Charleston Shop Curator

Charleston Shop Curator serves as a fashion blog and shopping guide to showcase the incredible diversity of style in Charleston, South Carolina. We continually strive to expose local creative talents from designers to stores. Here you can find all of the treasures Charleston has to offer, and more.

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